News & Brews February 17, 2022

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75,651 tax credits scholarships denied

It’s a sobering number: In the 2019-20 school year, 75,651 tax credit scholarship applications were denied due to arbitrary government-imposed caps. Our friends at the Commonwealth Foundation took a look at our highly popular tax credit scholarship programs, looking at who benefits from the programs, how demand is far outpacing supply (due to government caps on supply), and how we can ensure students are not denied the lifeline of educational opportunity. Read more here.

AP: Dems in trouble in rural America

Using Pennsylvania as the hook, the AP takes a sympathetic look at how the Democrat brand is suffering in rural America, to the point of becoming “toxic.” The piece argues that it’s really only a handful of Democrats who hold far left views (i.e. “defund the police”), but “conservative media” in rural communities “amplifies” those positions. Hey, remember when the AP tried really hard to defend Republicans by saying only a handful of Republicans hold far right (i.e. “storm the Capitol”) views? Yeah, me neither.

Huge discrepancy in revenue predictions between Wolf, IFO

Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget estimates more than $1 billion more in sales tax collections than the state’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) estimates, a discrepancy that was on display at this week’s House Appropriations Committee hearings. IFO Director Matt Knittel called Wolf’s estimates “optimistic.” The Center Square has more. You can also read key takeaways from Tuesday’s hearings here and yesterday’s hearings here. And finally, budget hearings will continue today. Find livestream info here.

Op-Ed: Exposing the truth about education funding

The Commonwealth Foundation’s Steve Bloom has an op-ed in Lancaster Online, noting that adjusted for inflation, education funding has increased by 48% since 2000. He writes that “Pennsylvania spends nearly $20,000 per K-12 student on average — more than all but six states. And the average Pennsylvania public school already receives $4,200 more than the national average.” In short, “If more funding really leads to academic improvement, it would have already happened. It has not.” Check out his piece here.

Liberal super PAC to target races in PA

American Bridge 21st Century PAC, a Democrat super PAC funded in part by government unions (no surprise there), plans to target Pennsylvania and several other battleground states as part of a $10M effort “to identify and defeat Republican candidates running for elected roles that oversee elections,” City & State PA reports (with a super-non-objective headline, I might add). The story notes, “American Bridge said it will focus heavily on elected offices that craft election policy and oversee election administration, including secretaries of state, attorneys general, county election boards, state legislatures and state courts, among others.” This isn’t the first time American Bridge has targeted PA. The group previously spent millions here on races including the 2020 presidential election.

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